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Beaches Update - what you can and can't do

Published Date
22/04/2020
News Topic
Beaches & Lifeguards

Three weeks ago we made the decision to close beaches to help stop the spread of Coronavirus. And while we know the past three weeks have been difficult on our beach-going lifestyle, the closure has helped stopped the spread.

Since then, the Government has introduced clear social distancing and group gathering restrictions and the community has had time to adjust. We now feel we can allow our beaches to be accessed safely for exercise purposes only.

Keeping in mind that the Australian Government has made it clear that there are only a few reasons we should be leaving our homes at this time and they are:

  • for work (where you can’t work remotely)
  • to attend school or an educational institution
  • to shop for food and essentials
  • to get medical care or supplies
  • to exercise

With that in mind, as of Monday 20 April, Randwick City’s beaches including Coogee, Maroubra and Clovelly Beaches will be made available for exercise purposes only. We appreciate you exercising and leaving as soon as you can.

🤔 What does this mean? 🤔

👉 People must maintain social distancing - 😀 1.5 metres 😃 between each other when at the beach.
👉 Groups are limited to two people only and they must move on when exercise is complete.
👉 If you are a family, you may visit together - but the purpose of your visit must be exercise; playing on the sand or water's edge is not permitted at this time. 
👉 Sitting or sun-baking on the sand is not permitted.
👉 Surfing is allowed. 🏄‍♂️
👉 Swimming is allowed. 🏊‍♀️
👉 Soft sand running is allowed. 🏃‍♀️
👉 Our ocean pools remain closed, per NSW Public Health orders.
👉 Our beach car parks are still closed.

We have been receiving a lot of questions from residents - here are the answers:

We’ve been getting lots of questions about what people can and can’t do at the beach.

Some of our beaches are very popular and patrolled by Lifeguards while others are more remote and are not patrolled. As such, we ask people to take a common sense approach. If it’s not exercise – you need to consider whether you are permitted to do it and whether it complies with the NSW Public Health Order (which is enforceable by police).

Please help us keep the beaches accessible for exercise by doing the right thing. Should crowds increase or some people don’t do the right thing, we may be forced to limit access or close beaches.

Beach Dos and Don’ts FAQs

Q. Can I watch my child surf while I sit on the sand?
We understand parents need to supervise children who may be exercising. So yes, you are permitted to be at the beach to supervise, but we ask that you stand while supervising and not sit, as this will encourage others to sit. That quickly turns into groups of people sitting and congregating and that's what we need to avoid. Please note that if you are standing, you still need to practice social distancing and be 1.5 metres away from anyone else on the beach. Thank you for understanding.

Q. Can I fish off the beach?
The NSW Government has determined that fishing is a permitted activity. However fishing is not practical or safe at some of our more popular beaches where people may be exercising. We are prioritising exercise over fishing. As such, Lifeguards will not permit fishing at certain times. We ask fishers to follow Lifeguard advice and take a common sense and safe approach when determining whether and where to fish.

Q. Can I take my kids for a swim on the edge of the beach/bay (ie Clovelly)?
Yes, swimming is permitted for the purpose of exercise. We understand kids need activity, too. But please keep in mind during this time of a pandemic, people are urged to stay at home unless exercising. We urge parents to consider safety first and foremost and avoid crowds.

Q. Can I swim off the rocks?
We strongly discourage swimming off the rocks given the significant safety issues. Our rocky bays – Gordons Bay and Lurline Bay are closed.

Q. Can I exercise with my housemates?
The NSW Public Health Order limits public place gatherings to groups of two people or less. There are some exceptions to this, including for residents of the same household. Police may require evidence of your co-residence if you are gathering in groups larger than two.

Q. Can I kick a ball on the sand with my kids? Or play other games on the sand?
The primary purpose of providing access to the beach is for water-based exercise and jogging/walking on the sand. These activities will take priority and as such ball games are generally not appropriate. There are other places such as parks and reserves that are better suited to ball game activities for the time being.

Q. Can we build sandcastles?
No. The beach is only open for exercise.

Q. Can I practice yoga/meditation on the beach?
The beaches are open primarily for water-based exercise and jogging and walking on the sand. Yoga/meditation is not considered a priority exercise for the beach as it can be done elsewhere. We encourage people to undertake these types of activities in other places like at home or in parks and reserves.

Q. Can I sit on the rocks, by myself?
No, this is not exercise and as such is not a permitted reason to be leaving your home.

Q. Can I snorkel?
Provided you are exercising, yes.

Q. Can I scuba dive?
Provided you are exercising, yes.

Q. Can I use my skim board / boogie board?
Provided you are exercising, yes.

Q. Can I use my paddle board?
Provided you are exercising, yes.

Q. Can I take photos from my tripod at sunrise, by myself with no one else around?
Generally no, as this is not one of the permitted reasons for leaving you home during the pandemic. The only exception would be if you were taking photographs/video in a professional capacity for work purposes.

Please note: When deciding to go to the beach for exercise, we ask that you check our beach cams, which you can find here. If you feel you will be unable to practice appropriate social distancing, please stay home and reconsider your visit.

We will be relying on the cooperation and common sense of the community throughout this period to ensure that our beaches do not become crowded. We are asking people to do their exercise and leave quickly so it doesn't become crowded.

"We urge everybody to do the right thing and practice social distancing while exercising so we can maintain access for exercise purposes and get through this difficult period together,” commented Mayor Said.

We will be working with our lifeguards, Rangers and police to ensure our beaches are utilised properly and with social distancing in mind. If we see social distancing measures cannot be enforced at the beaches, they will need to be closed.

We know everyone is keen to get back to the beach but we'd like to thank everyone who stayed home and stayed off the beach for the past three weeks - you really did make a difference. And we appreciate everyone who continues to stay home and practice social distancing effectively. Thank you. 🙏

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